JOLIET, Ill. — There was no “Slide job!” There was no dramatic last lap.
But there was Kyle Larson finishing second again at Chicagoland Speedway.
Bowman took the lead with six laps to go and left Larson to finish a season-best second. That finish also extended Larson’s winless streak to 63 races while Bowman scored his first career Cup win.
Larson admits his result Sunday was encouraging and discouraging since he didn’t win.
“Obviously, it was good to contend for a win,” said Larson, whose only other top-five finish this year is a third at Dover in May. “I felt like we have had speed in our cars but we haven’t really contended all day long like we did today. That was a positive.
“It’s obviously also discouraging that I didn’t get a win. I got another second-place finish here at Chicago. I fought hard, and I felt like I did a good job. He (Bowman) was just able to get the run and do a good job also.”
Larson admitted that after the final green-flag pit stops, he was focused on keeping Joey Logano, who went on to finish third, behind him.
“All of a sudden I was like, ‘Oh wow, we’re catching him and caught him pretty quickly and was able to get by him pretty quickly. Thought that I could pull away. He was able to get a big run on me and get to my inside and then sidedraft me on the backstretch to get by. He did a good job of hitting his marks and getting the balance back underneath him to hold me off.”
Said Bowman: “Kyle and I are pretty good friends. He’s one of the few guys in the Cup garage that I actually talk to and kind of hang out with. I think we were just racing really hard and we race each other super clean. We raced really hard all night.
“The contact (on the winning move) probably made our car a little better, folding in the right front a little bit. We were so loose, we needed to tighten it up a little bit. That was just hard racing. It’s a lot of fun to race Kyle like that.”